It was a literal homecoming for Nyakio Grieco this week, as the founder of natural beauty brand Nyakio returned to Ron Robinson at Fred Segal Melrose, the Los Angeles specialty retailer where she launched her line 16 years ago.
On hand at the Ali Larter and Shannon Rotenberg-hosted party was Selma Blair, who was also at the first launch party. This time she had her eight-year-old son Arthur in tow, and Grieco’s two kids were also there. “Where does the time go?” laughed Blair as she tousled his hair. Blair’s then-publicist, entertainment manager Troy Nankin, was Grieco’s business partner when, as a former talent assistant, decided to pivot and launch a beauty line. He was also present. “So many things happened here at Fred Segal,” he said from his perch on the brick steps beneath the iconic red, white and blue awning. Old Guard faces in the crowd like makeup artist Monica Blunder, actress Amy Smart, producer Crystal Lourd and retailer Jenny Belushi agreed.
“I remember coming here when I’d first moved to L.A. and I drove a beat-up Mazda. My friend and I would never want to leave because everyone here was so beautiful. They’d keep trying to walk us back to our crappy cars, and we’d keep ducking around and sneaking back into all the parties,” said Larter of Fred Segal’s “golden years” in the late Nineties and early Aughts, when it was still run by Fred Segal (Ron Robinson, like Ron Herman, is an independent retailer who operates within the Fred Segal Melrose collective).
Robinson, who is marking 40 years in the business this year, has since opened a freestanding store in Santa Monica, where Larter mistakenly drove to first. “I first thought I was going to a party 20 minutes from home, then I realized it was an hour and twenty minutes from home,” she said.
Grieco herself has come a long way since first launching at Ron Robinson and Jeffrey New York with a bath and body line. She expanded into prestige skin care and fragrance, was acquired by Sundial Brands in 2016, and later became part of the Unilever family. She just celebrated Nyakio’s one-year anniversary at Ulta.
“What I’m loving about the industry so much now is that not only are women starting to pay attention to what we put inside and on our bodies, but the stigma that organic and natural doesn’t work is gone. We are able to all these ingredients and still deliver on the results. People don’t have to be afraid it won’t work. It’ll actually work better because your skin is going to understand it more,” she said.
Grieco brought the top five best-sellers of 16 “clean, green, vegan and cruelty-free” products back to Ron Robinson, including her hero product, the Maracuja and Yangu Soothing Oil, and the Kenyan Coffee Face Polish, based on her grandmother’s recipe using coffee beans from the family farm in Kenya.